Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
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Property from the Collection of Frederick A. and Sharon L. Klingenstein
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)

Buste d'Annette VIII

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Buste d'Annette VIII
signed and numbered ‘Alberto Giacometti 5/6’ (on the left); numbered and stamped with foundry mark ‘VIII SUSSE FONDEUR PARIS CIRE PERDUE’ (on the back)
bronze with brown and green patina
Height: 23 in. (58.5 cm.)
Conceived in 1962 and cast in 1965
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist, 1965).
Galerie de l'Elysée (Alex Maguy), Paris (acquired from the above, March 1970).
Mr. and Mrs. George Farkas, New York.
Mrs. Joanne Toor Cummings, New York (acquired from the above, 1981); Estate sale, Christie's, New York, 30 April 1996, lot 27.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
The Alberto Giacometti Database, no. AGD 4120.
R. Hohl, Alberto Giacometti, Stuttgart, 1971, p. 309, no. 264 (another cast illustrated).
Y. Bonnefoy, Alberto Giacometti: A Biography of His Works, Paris, 1991, p. 509 (another cast illustrated in color, p. 511, no. 516; another cast illustrated in color, p. 512, no. 518).
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Alberto Giacometti, October 1969-January 1970, p. 153, no. 112 (illustrated, p. 83).

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Max Carter
Max Carter

Lot Essay

During 1962, Alberto Giacometti modeled in plaster eight busts of his wife Annette, designated with the Roman numerals I-VIII. He created two more, IX and X, in 1964 and 1965. Although her features are discernable in the heads surmounting numerous standing female figures during the 1950s, relatively few portraits and only two heads in plaster of Annette date from that period; Giacometti had been concentrating instead, in paintings and sculpture, on his brother Diego and a few other male sitters.
A series of drawings preceded the busts of his wife, as Yves Bonnefoy observed, studies in which “Giacometti allows Annette’s face to assume its most physical aspects, so that the cheeks, lips, and forehead are shaped by the play of light and shadow as they are in everyday life—one can almost see the blood running through the real veins… And this is even more the case with the busts… Annette VI [sold, Christie’s New York, 15 May 2017, lot 8A] and Annette VIII, the masterpiece [the present sculpture]” (op. cit., 2012, pp. 508 and 509). The first of the late Annette busts is subtitled Venise, for its debut in the 1962 Biennale di Venezia, in which Giacometti was awarded the state prize for sculpture (sold, Christie’s New York, 12 November 2015, lot 29C).
The gaze in Buste dAnnette VIII resembles that of the mesmerizing, otherworldly eyes of the Byzantine icons the artist drew in his sketchbooks; one of the studies for the busts focused on the eyes alone (illustrated, ibid., p, 506). “Her eyes devoured the world,” Simone de Beauvoir recalled of her introduction to Annette in 1946 (quoted in V. Wiesinger, The Women of Giacometti, exh. cat., PaceWildenstein, New York, 2005, p. 19). In the modeled busts “the neck itself, with sudden stateliness,” Bonnefoy wrote, “possesses that look of slender grace combined with strength which is so moving in real life” (op. cit., 2012, p. 510).
Not quite forty, her wavy hair worn loose, eyes alert and expectant, with lips slightly parted, Annette in buste VIII projects much of the youthful charm caught in earlier photographs, when de Beauvoir wrote “I admire [Giacometti’s] very young wife for accepting this life… He is very attached to her but since he is not the tender sort she has some hard times” (quoted in M. Peppiatt, Alberto Giacometti in Postwar Paris, New Haven, 2001, p. 10). During the late 1950s and early 1960s Annette endured the pain and humiliation of Giacometti’s infatuation with the young prostitute Caroline, who also modeled regularly for him. “Voicing her frustrations, she was the protest that forced him to ask himself questions about his way of living, about the effects of those habits on her, about the way he had undoubtedly behaved badly towards her,” Bonnefoy explained. “He felt distress, compassion and remorse. Hence the solicitude in these busts, this recognition granted, which above all is primarily a victory over himself” (op. cit., 2012, p. 514).

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